The show's over

| Apr 26, 2005

The show's over

Marietta was with some Filipino friends in their local station when they were approached by a group of men they didn’t know. One took her arm, and asked to see her alien registration card and passport. His badge showed he was from the Immigration ...

Fresh foreign angles

| Mar 22, 2005

Fresh foreign angles

Japan has been a magnet for foreign writers and journalists since opening to the West. One of the first was a Harpers Magazine reporter named Lafcadio Hearn. He arrived on Japan’s shores in 1890 and devoted his life to describing the strange and exotic ...

Past the pain and language barriers

| Mar 1, 2005

Past the pain and language barriers

Even for a sumo wrestler, Kaido Hoovelson looks big. The 20-year-old Estonian, who goes by the ring name of “Baruto,” stands 197-cm tall, making him one of sumo’s tallest wrestlers. Last time he checked, he weighed a solid 162 kg — “166 after dinner.” ...

| Jan 11, 2005

Gaijin in cyberspace

It’s a pretty lively gathering. A group of eikaiwa teachers are noisily denouncing their employers, while nearby a pair of leery Charisma Men are swapping tales of sexual conquests, and next to them some language students are loudly debating the Yasukuni Shrine. Almost lost ...

| Nov 23, 2004

Class action

What would you do if you were sacked for “clicking your pen too much in class,” or for “talking to yourself during your break” . . . or how about for “only eating the topping on your rice during lunch?” These are all actual ...

Japan diet risks on rise

| Aug 3, 2004

Japan diet risks on rise

When Hiroyuki Suematsu left medical school in the early 1960s eating disorders were still rare in Japan. During his own childhood after the Pacific war binge eating would have been almost unthinkable. “When I was at elementary school we didn’t have enough food to ...

| Jul 6, 2004

Barely managing

In a country with few real careers for women, a job in an energetic internationally-oriented service industry would surely be a dream come true for many. Unfortunately, when that industry is Japan’s language-learning industry, many school managers soon find that their dream job isn’t ...

'No sex please, you're teachers'

| Jun 1, 2004

'No sex please, you're teachers'

“I feel offended that anyone would tell me who I can or can’t hang out with,” says Brendan (not his real name), one of 6,000 foreign language instructors employed by Nova Corp. in Japan. According to the language school chain’s instructor contract, foreign employees ...

Does comic relief hurt kids?

| Apr 27, 2004

Does comic relief hurt kids?

‘Cuteness, eroticism, and violence are the essence of Japanese pop culture,” says Ichiya Nakamura, executive director of the Stanford Japan Center and ex-government policy maker. The saccharine cuteness of Hello Kitty and Sailor Moon has become almost as familiar to people in Europe and ...